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Chemical Soup Simmering on the Right Side of Mark Vonnegut’s Brain

A warm little pond
Is that where Darwin said life began?
Pass the test tube, Igor
There’s too much acid in this potion.
Cold clinical calculations,
Dare a scientific tongue utter “spiritual?”
Dare a presidential candidate throw up his hands
Grow a beard
Smoke a pipe
Admit puzzlement?

The pope endorses a germ of an idea
And the Vatican trembles

Revolving doors close
Werewolves appear
A pre-election day costume party
Masking the problem of perfection
Masking the pointless pursuit of politics

Freeing your identity, freeing your demons

Delighting in isolated conversations
Drowning in duck stew

Swimming in feathers of misfortune
Spitting in a drunken sailor’s disfigured face
An adventurer no doubt, a pirate of the Canaanites
Minus the virility

Learning the art of corner cocktail masturbation

Condom balloons with pumpkin smiles
Teeth black as a witch’s nipples
Stirring the semen
Adding fresh eggs
Bringing this medicated goo to a boil

Flat beer
The odor of a college dormitory
The stairwell
Disinfected with ammonia

Incense burning,
Howling at a cracked moon
Yellow as urine,
Eyes blood red by smoke and crayon.

Another species discovered on the Galapagos
Not quite human
Not quite human

Too distilled
To be hybrid,
An experiment gone awry

A cleansing fluid created to alter the pulp
At first to ignite, then to exonerate
A new strain of fossil fuel,
Spread eagle like a hopping toad on the lab table,
An open can of biological spam, a spindle of virus fabric,
All designed to confound and excoriate the fool
Whose complex beliefs in systems arcane
Are by definition feudal
And futile

A shot of sour bourbon,
Silliness prevails
Dunking for apples
Dancing, weaving
Bellowing, basking in the glow of goblins and heretics

A masquerade attended by lapsed Mormons,
Miscreant Mennonites of mischief
Milk curdling madness
Save for mysticism

Scattered scavengers advanced beyond guilt
At one time fetuses formed to seek,
To suck truth serum
From the bottom of a banana peel,
Split like atoms, plain and stoic, certain
As a guarded evening’s onset.

Raise a glass for the nonbeliever,
Raise a cure for the sick,
The crotchety pilgrims of mankind
Evidently saving gracefulness
For the afterlife,
Racked with fears of spells
By devil-may-care charlatans,
Taken for a ride on a magic Berber,
Floating prostrate for eternity,
Jettisoned by hellbent helium,
They praise and carry the weight of howler monkeys on their backs
With hopes of heavens sans hysteria.

Do
Not
Regurgitate

Too radical to imitate,
Embryonic embargo.

Do
Not
Anesthetize

Too righteous to sympathize,
Cellular symphony.

Do
Not
Cross
Thyself

Breaking boundaries,
Counting rosaries,
Secular constraint.

Do
Not
Induce
Labia
Talks

Boiled ovaries,
Wire tampering,
Breaking point breached.

Do
Not
Veto
Your
Conscience
It only encourages
Backlash

Political suicide attained,
Breaded and battered in a pile of scrapple.

Do
Not
Overcook
Nor undernourish

Another roadside chicken,
Scattershot and skittish,
Pulled over to the other side of Luna
With her frontal cortex deep fried.

Do
Not
Bribe
Under the Influence

Soused,
Immersed
Beyond
All
Recognition

Cauldron overflow
(Rhetoric overblown),
Thirsty for Kool-Aid,
Dying to connect the dots of Picasso.
Cubism speaks louder than words,
Mark Cuban speaks pesos.
Mighty bailouts speak louder than cures,
Research falls on deaf ears,
Spinal taps and dumb fears.

Stay away from circles of catatonic creatures

Stay away

There’s no such thing as evolution
None
Such
Think

The point of this compass is centered
The moral is lost
Still life rules no roost
Pressure repressed

First things Faust
[Must digress]

A being is born
A being breathes
A being absorbs
A being purges
And is reborn
In a less hostile, more forgiving environment

On and on
the questions itch the conscience
The conscious remain
Unconscious

Scripture reveals meaning
Meaning conceals knowledge
The depth of knowledge
The dearth of knowing

pangs pangs pangs
Hunger in Galilee
pangs pangs pangs

Fray the uniformed, riddled by bullets, cloaked in orders and stars
pangs
Pray for the uninformed, shackled in chains, kept behind bars
pangs
Allay the misinformed, corrupting our youth, stubborn and old
pangs
Sway the unreformed, craving immersion, wisdom on hold.

pangs pangs pangs
Hunger in Damascus
pangs pangs pangs

“Basta!”

Darwin, famished, stands and delivers a delectable ditty to the complicated, disgruntled masses,
Sits.
God, in gallant, yawn-inspiring glory,
Stands,
Ignores the kvetches,
Belches,
Scratches,
Wretches.

pangs

Appetites restored,
Tables reset,
God sits, stretches,
Says Gretchen.

pangs

Mephistopheles appears at God’s table,
Haggard, hungry for soup,
Bows, grimaces,
Sits.

They dig in.
~ DC 10/31/96

Photo source: Cauldron by Jenny Audring, Audringje

About Dan Cafaro

Dan Cafaro is the founder and publisher of Atticus Books, a small press based in Madison, N.J. When Dan is not following his wife around the country, he is known to sit for long periods of time pondering how to live off the grid. Atticus Review is his first literary journal.

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